Southside Police acquire new drone

Southside Police acquire new drone. (Source: WBRC staff)
Southside Police acquire new drone. (Source: WBRC staff)
Updated: Mar. 25, 2019 at 2:50 PM CDT
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SOUTHSIDE, AL (WBRC) - A smaller police department in Etowah County has a new crime fighting tool.

The Southside Police Department has purchased a new drone. It has a Flir camera and cost $3,900.

They acquired the drone only recently and its first mission was over the weekend when Southside Police used it to assist the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office at a crime scene.

They plan to use the drone primarily at crime scenes and in the search for missing persons, because of the Flir camera that is used primarily by law enforcement and the military.

“This one’s much more expensive, obviously because it has the Flir camera,” says Southside police officer Kip Williams, a certified drone pilot. “That gives us the ability to see at nighttime, pick up heat signatures, body heat, things like that.”

Southside Mayor Wally Burns says the drone was purchase partly with a donation from Etowah County Commissioner Joey Statum.

He says the money spent on the drone will likely pay for itself by saving man hours on ground searches that would have required more manpower.

“Me and the council thought it would be a good asset for us,” Burns said. “They’ve got the infrareds, very beneficial at night.”

“It’s a tool that’s going to be utilized by more and more departments,” says Police Chief Chris Jones. “The technology’s getting more accessible to use. We have three operators that are going to FAA training. It’s really going to carry us to the next level.”

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